What safety equipment do I need on my boat?

Before taking to the water, you need to be confident that your vessel has all the safety equipment that you might need. We hope you don’t need to use it, but here’s a guide to the kind of things you should have onboard a coded boat:

• Flares and pyrotechnics
• Liferafts – together with stowage and release units
• Man-Over-Board equipment such as lights, danbuoys, horseshoe buoys
• Jackstays for on-deck safety
• Lifejackets – with lights if you are certified to sail at night
• Safety lines
• Handheld VHF Radios
• Training Manuals
• Fire extinguishers for both cabin and engine.
• Hand-bearing compasses
• Foghorns
• Signage – all equipment must be easily located and accessible
• Hacksaws, wire cutters, and any other tools that would be necessary in the unlikely event of de-masting.

Suppliers such as Suffolk Marine Safety can give tailored advice on sourcing and maintaining the appropriate equipment if you are a boat owner.

For example, if you will never be sailing at night then you don’t need lights on lifejackets. Similarly, the type and capacity of life-rafts needed will be dependent on how far from shore you plan to go. (This is of course governed by the 0-6 categories.)

Make sure that before you sail your boat, or charter it to anybody else, that you are compliant with these safety standards, and know how to find and use all the potentially necessary equipment. It could save your life!